New magnetic technique that is 'more effective than drugs' could offer hope to Alzheimer's disease sufferers

Amy Schofield 09 February 2017

A breakthrough magnetic brain-training technique has proven to be more effective than any drug in treating people with Alzheimer's disease.

The 'NeuroAD' treatment, created by scientists in Israel and the US, could be an alternative to drugs and it is hoped that it could even halt the progression of the brain disease, which affects hundreds of thousands of people in the UK.

The six-week procedure performed well in trials, with three-quarters of patients reporting stabilisation or improvement in their symptoms. Some trial participants continued to improve for two years.

The £6000 treatment, which works by boosting the brain’s ability to recall and reason using electromagnetic stimulation, is now being rolled out at private practices in London, Manchester, Chester, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.

Marwan Sabbagh, director of the Alzheimer’s and memory disorders programme at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Arizona, said: “Some patients have better communication and interaction with their families, some are able to solve crossword puzzles again, to paint, or simply be more alive.”

Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer’s Society said: “The idea that using magnetic fields to stimulate the brain and increase the benefits of training is intriguing, but it’s still early days for this approach. 

“There isn’t yet enough evidence to be certain that this approach will improve thinking skills for people with Alzheimer’s disease and we encourage the company to produce further evidence in due course. The treatment is likely to be expensive, so people need to carefully consider the costs and potential benefits.” 

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